It is officially over! Argentina triumphed over France on December 19, finally giving 35-year-old Lionel Messi the World Cup trophy he truly desired.
The finals match against the Argentinian La Albiceleste, and the French Les Bleus was a nail-biting one. It was a game that could end the debate of who is better between La Pulga and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, Messi proved he should be considered the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T.) as he won—in a dramatic fashion—his first-ever World Cup trophy.
He broke several records in this year’s tournament to make it even more astounding. Lothar Matthäus of Germany held the record for most World Cup appearances with 25. The GOAT tied it when they fought Croatia last Tuesday before setting a new record (26) by going up against France.
Messi was also the first player in World Cup history to have a goal in every knock-out match. He is also the first to have multiple World Cup Ball Awards (2014 and 2022).
La Pulga and Ronaldo were both thirsting for a WC trophy. Both of them were called the greatest strikers but have yet to get a win in the FIFA tournament. The former ended the search by beating France, while Morocco eliminated Portugal in the quarterfinals 1-0.
The start of the match was intense, but Messi showed why he is one of the all-time greats, scoring the first goal (via penalty) in just under minute 23. Argentina quickly had a two-point lead against France, with Ángel Di María scoring another one for the team within 36 minutes of the match.
However, going into the second half, the French started their comeback. Kylian Mbappé managed to cut the lead by one after scoring via penalty.
Argentina’s defense collapsed following the penalty. Mbappé then grabbed that moment of despair and tied the score 2-2 in just 90 seconds, thus forcing the game to add extra time. Neither team was willing to give a point, but in minute 108, Messi put the lead back to Argentina 3-2.
It was then the French, looking not to go down just yet. With two minutes left, Gonzalo Montiel fouls Mbappé, costing Argentina a penalty. France converted the opportunity with the superstar equalizing the score 3-3.
The game was a draw; without any time left, it went to a penalty shootout. Mbappé quickly put France into the lead but was easily erased by Messi, tying the score 1-1.
Argentinian forward Paulo Dybala gave his team the lead 2-1. On the other hand, France failed to convert their penalty, as Kingsley Coman missed.
Argentina was perfect in the penalty shootout, with Montiel scoring the final penalty putting his team up by two points.
The match also marks Argentina as the only nation to win games via penalty shootouts with six. They are also the third country to bring home the WC trophy because of a final shootout.
OKBET predicted that Argentina would win in this year’s FIFA tournament. However, a Messi fan already foresaw this season’s outcome.
In 2015, José Miguel Polanco was certain that the Argentinian superstar would be holding the World Cup trophy exactly on December 18, 2022. Lo and behold, Argentina defeated France in a penalty shootout 4-2.
“December 18, 2022. 34 year old Leo Messi will win the World Cup and become the greatest player of all times. Check back with me in 7 years.”
December 18, 2022. 34 year old Leo Messi will win the World Cup and become the greatest player of all times. Check back with me in 7 years.
— José Miguel Polanco ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@josepolanco10) March 20, 2015